Reflecting on fond memories goes a step beyond making you feel warm and fuzzy: nostalgia can reduce pain perception. Nostalgia decreases activity in pain-related brain areas and decreases subjective ratings of thermal pain, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences measured the brain activity of adults with fMRI while the participants rated the nostalgia levels of images and rated the pain of thermal stimuli. The nostalgic images featured scenes and items from an average childhood, like a popular candy, cartoon TV show, and schoolyard game. Images in the control condition depicted corresponding scenes and items from modern life. Viewing nostalgic images reduced pain ratings compared to viewing control images, with the strongest effect on low intensity pain.
Viewing nostalgic images also reduced activity in the left lingual gyrus and parahippocampal gyrus, two brain regions implicated in pain perception. Activity in the thalamus, a brain region involved in relaying information between the body and the cortex, was linked to both nostalgia and pain ratings; the thalamus may integrate nostalgia information and transmit it to pain pathways. Nostalgia may be a drug-free way to alleviate low levels of pain, like headaches or mild clinical pain.
New survey commissioned by the American Heart Association found high blood pressure patients unsure of how to safely treat pain.
While nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure (HBP), only 29% think over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers may raise blood pressure, according to a recent survey commissioned by the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all.
While majority of adults in the general population, as well as people with high blood pressure, aren’t sure about the effect of OTC pain medicine on their blood pressure, only a little more than half of those diagnosed with high blood pressure, who take OTC pain relievers (53%) check with their doctor before taking this medicine.
It has long been known that there is an association between food and pain, as people with chronic pain often struggle with their weight. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience may have found an explanation in a new study that suggests that circuitry in the brain responsible for motivation and pleasure is impacted when someone experiences pain. “These findings may reveal new physiological mechanisms linking chronic pain to a change in someone’s eating behavior,” said Paul Geha, M.D., lead author on the study published in PLOS ONE. “And this change can lead to the development of obesity.”
Finding pleasure in food comes from how our brain responds to what we are eating. In this study researchers were looking at the brain’s response to sugar and fat. Using a gelatin dessert and pudding researchers altered the sugar, fat, and texture of the foods. They found that none of the patients experienced eating behavior changes with sugar, but they did with fat. Those with acute lower back pain who later recovered were most likely to lose pleasure in eating the pudding and show disrupted satiety signals – the communication from the digestive system to the brain – while those with acute lower back pain whose pain persisted at one year did not initially have the same change in their eating behavior. But chronic lower back pain patients did report that eventually foods high in fat and carbohydrates, like ice cream and cookies, became problematic for them over time and brain scans showed disrupted satiety signals.
A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course was found to benefit patients with chronic pain and depression, leading to significant improvement in participant perceptions of pain, mood and functional capacity, according to a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Most of the study respondents (89%) reported the program helped them find ways to better cope with their pain while 11% remained neutral.
Chronic pain is a common and serious medical condition affecting an estimated 100 million people in the United States, which correlates with annual costs of approximately $635 billion. The small-scale study was conducted in a semi-rural population in Oregon where issues of affordability, addiction and access to care are common. Participants received intensive instruction in mindfulness meditation and mindful hatha yoga during an eight-week period.
The herb kratom is increasingly being used to manage pain and treat opioid addiction, but it’s not safe to use as an herbal supplement, according to new research led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
The drug is available in smoke shops and online. Using low doses, it is a stimulant. At high doses, it has an opioid-like effect.
William Eggleston, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, had been seeing more and more patients presenting with toxicity or withdrawal from kratom use. Kratom is an herbal supplement derived from a plant that grows throughout southeast Asia. It is well-reported that the active chemicals in the plant act on opioid receptors in the body. Patients report using the supplement to treat/prevent withdrawal, treat opioid use disorder, or treat pain. Continue reading →
A new study published in JAMA Network Open led by UC San Diego health scientists finds that every month as many as 6.4 million Americans turn to Google to learn about or buy Cannabidiol (CBD), eclipsing or rivaling interest in most other health products or topics . Source: Elevated Science Communications
Touted as a “cure all,” researchers have documented unfounded claims that CBD treats acne, anxiety, opioid addiction, pain, and menstrual problems. You can buy CBD droplets, massage oils, gummies, or even CBD ice cream. But public health leaders have been mostly silent on the subject because they lacked data that demonstrates just how popular CBD is.
In the interest of full disclosure, I use and have posted on, CBD oil for arthritis relief in my hands.
To further appreciate CBD’s exploding popularity the team contrasted search query volumes for CBD against those for other trending health topics, products, or alternative medicines. The image is in the public domain.
I suffer from severe arthritis at the base of my thumbs. This means that virtually anything I do with my hands – hurts. Buttoning, unbuttoning, turning a key, working a zipper, you name it – pain. In the past 10 years I have written about a number of topical treatments for arthritis pain. Frankly, they are too numerous to mention, but if you are curious, type arthritis into the SEARCH BOX at the right and you can find all of them. For the record, I started suffering from arthritis pain in my hands in my 50’s. That was more than 25 years ago, so I have lived with the pain for a considerable time.
What is the good news? One of my neighbors who I often encounter when we walk our dogs, told me about Calendula Officinalis tablets. maybe you have heard of them under their more common name – pot marigold. I had not previously heard of either. Continue reading →
Besides the arthritis pain that greatly restrains both hands, I recently underwent oral surgery and had a pain reliever prescribed for after-care. For the most part, I live without taking pain relievers. I use topical solutions like CBD Oil, Australian Dream Cream, Mustard Seed Oil regularly for my hands as well as Chinese exercise balls for flexibility. Nonetheless, pain relievers can be a temporary solution at times. It helps to know what you are putting into your system.
Headache? Have an aspirin. Back hurts? How about some ibuprofen? Feeling feverish? Time for some acetaminophen.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are often the first thing we turn to when we’re injured or under the weather, and for good reason. They can be extremely effective at reducing pain, fever and inflammation.
But because they’re in just about everyone’s medicine cabinet and you don’t need a prescription to buy them, it can be tempting to treat them a little too casually — taking too many, too frequently or for the wrong reasons.
I have a bad case of arthritis in both my hands. I use exercise balls, ice packs and CBD oil for temporary pain relief. That is pretty much the only pain I deal with regularly. So, I guess I have a lot to be thankful for as a guy who turns 79 in January. I do realize, however, that many seniors are not so lucky. For them, I recommend these tips from the National Institute on Aging.
Exercising when you’re in pain can be hard. You might think that you should rest until your pain disappears. But depending on the type of pain you’re experiencing, exercise can help reduce your pain and improve your mood.
Most people living with chronic pain can exercise safely. In fact, research has shown that exercise combined with education can reduce one’s risk of lower back pain.
Follow these tips for exercising with pain:
Pace yourself. Begin your program slowly with low-intensity exercises and work up from there.
Talk to your doctor. Pain usually doesn’t go away overnight, so talk with your health care provider about how long it may take before you feel better and about what exercises you can do safely.
Know which exercises to do. Endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises all have their own benefits, so doing a combination of exercises may be best.
Don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. Avoid overexerting yourself when you feel good. If you have pain or swelling in a specific area, switch your focus to another area for a couple of days.
I really have to confess ignorance on the subject of opioids. I make it a point to keep my drug use at a bare minimum. Naturally, I have heard of opioid abuse. Who didn’t see those shocking pictures of golf great Tiger Woods the night he tried driving under the influence of opioids?
I recently suffered some severe back pain from hanging my bike on the rack carelessly. I went to the hospital for rehab work, but didn’t take any drugs.
I wanted to report what Harvard has to say on the subject because it offers a lot of information on asking questions of your doctor.
Opioid misuse is now one of most important health problems in the United States, rivaling smoking as a cause of death. Although news reports tend to focus on an opioid crisis among the young, the opioid epidemic is increasingly affecting older people as well. In fact, the rates of hospitalization for opioid overdoses among Medicare recipients quintupled from 1993 through 2012. Although older people are still less likely than younger ones to become addicted or succumb to opioid overdoses, they are more likely to suffer side effects from extended opioid use, including memory and cognition problems and falls.